“Mental Health” Labels, and Information Coordinators

In the letters below, Tim Jackins and Janet Foner1 respond to a request for an Information Coordinator for people with “Asperger’s syndrome.”

3 Present Time

With love and appreciation,

More and more medical titles are being given to difficulties that people exhibit in their behavior. Part of the reason is that this opens the door for drug manufacturers to develop and market products to “solve” the newly defined problem. It is difficult to tell2 how much these problems have an actual physical basis and how much they are the result of undischarged distress. Most people looking at them have no understanding of distress recordings. Our experience has consistently been that distress recordings play a large role in these behaviors and that discharging the recordings allows the affected individuals to change their behavior in the ways they choose. In RC we keep getting better at providing situations in which people can discharge their distresses. Hopefully we will continue developing our abilities in this direction and be able to reach more and more people more quickly and more effectively. Thank you for thinking about this.

We have never had Information Coordinators for people with particular “mental health” diagnoses, because it would likely not be consistent with RC theory. I don’t know much about Asperger’s, just as I know little about Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and so on. Asperger’s may have some physical causes, but I highly doubt it, given the history of “mental health” diagnoses. Dottie Curry, who was the International Liberation Reference Person for Elders, said that after she listened for a while to someone who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the person’s attention and memory vastly improved. I’ve heard the same from other RCers vis-à-vis Alzheimer’s. In a school in New England for children labeled autistic, the staff members pay attention to the children (the staff don’t know RC but do something similar to it), and most of the children recover. (See also the article in the January 2013 about an RC play group for children with “special needs.”) Some of them have re-emerged a lot. I would rather we didn’t have any Information Coordinators for people labeled with “mental health” diagnoses, because it would give more credibility to and focus people’s attention on the labels—as opposed to helping people reclaim their power to eliminate “mental health” oppression. A big push in the media in recent years, fueled by the drug companies, has been to see people with various “mental health” labels as having a “disease,” just like diabetes or high blood pressure, that can be medicated and lived with. This has focused attention on so-called “mental illness” in a way that is opposite to the kind of attention needed—the kind that we give and receive in RC. Labeling people and trying to accommodate their “illness” diverts people from trying to understand the unique experience and patterns of each person and creates roadblocks to using RC.Rather than gathering together people who are similarly labeled, it is more re-emergent and useful, and allows for more safety and discharge, if those people can understand that they’re facing “mental health” oppression. According to “mental health” oppression, there is “normal” distress, that most people have and understand, and distress that only certain “strange” people have. The “normal” distress is hard to notice or address. When it comes up to be discharged, it often gets pointed at others. It can make the person who has it feel like the others are “the problem.” I am glad you continue to think about these issues.


New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA

(Present Time 171, April 2013)


Last modified: 2017-05-31 15:31:15-07